Viral Diseases of Plant are very common and can be found in your surroundings. Many of the plants around you can be examined and diagnosed with viral infections.
Viral plant diseases are caused by viruses that especially infect the plants. Plants cells normally have a thick cell wall and plant cuticle. Therefore for viruses to enter the plants, there must be a wound present on the plant through which viruses can enter.
Plant wounds can be caused by natural or manmade causes. Lateral branch growth or a cut during horticulture, there can be multiple ways by which virus can enter a plant’s cell.
Viruses are parasites, an invisible foe, that require a living organism (called host) to grow and multiply. It can be humans, animals, plants, or any other living thing. When the host is a plant, the result is a plant viral disease. Plant viruses are basically pathogens. Most of the virures affect only one type of host.
Viruses are not active when outside the host body. They are in dormant state and become active only when inside the host body.
A plant virus has parts: nucleic acid and an outer protin coat. When a virus enters a living organism, it sheds its protein coat. It is the nucleic acid that causes viral diseases of plant.
Majority of the plant viruses are rod shaped.
Plant virus cause a number of plant viral diseases and cause a lot of crop damage including loss of yield and quality of crops across the world. There are more than 1000 types of plant viruses known to humans.
Identifying the right type at the right time is important to save the plants from the irreversible damage these viruses can bring about.
Viruses are spread by living organism (called vectors) from one plant to the other. These vectors can be birds, animals, insects, nematodes, flies, spider mites or pests. One virus type can be transmitted to other plant by only a particular vector type and not by others.
One type of virus can affect a narrow range of hosts to a multitude of hosts.
A virus can spread to the whole plant and damage the entire plant system or it can cause localized infection in a plant.
Common Plant Viral Disease Symptoms
Below are common symptoms when a plan has viral infection:
- Mosaic patterns
- Chlorotic/Necrotic lesions
- Stripes or streaks
- Vein clearing
- Vein banding
- Leaf rolling
- Leaf curling
- Changes in colour of flowers- colour mosaics
- Fruit mosaics
- Stunting of fruits and vegetables
- Decolouration of fruits and vegetables
- Malformation of fruits
- Ringspots on fruits and vegetables
- Stem pitting
- Grooving and tumors in stem etc.
Common Plant Viruses & Viral Diseases
Below is a comprehensive list of the most common Viral Diseases of Plant:
- Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) – First plant virus to be discovered
- Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV)
- Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV)
- Cauliflower Mosaic Virus
- Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV)
- Maize Mosaic Virus
- Barley Yellow Dwarf
- Leaf Curl Virus
- Bud Blight
- Sugarcane Mosaic Virus
- Lettuce Mosaic Virus
- Peanut Stunt Virus
Prevention of Viral Diseases of Plant
Following measures can be adopted to keep your plants or crops virus free:
- Purchase of certified seed which is virus free.
- Removal of wild plants, weeds and shrubs growing in the surrounding area.
- Change of crop patterns and harvesting patterns. Rotation of host crops with non-host crops.
- Elimination of vectors spreading the virus by use of insecticides, fungicides or pesticides.
- Use of virus resistant varieties of plants.
- Use of cleaners and sanitized tools for woking with plants.
- Isolation of new variety of crop before combining it with rest of the group of crops.
- Geographic islotion of units where crops or plants are produced (for commercial crops)
Control of Viral Diseases of Plant
Control of Plant Viral Diseases is very difficult as there are no products available in market to get rid of these infections.
For controlling the plant viral disease, the first important step is to identify the type of virus and thus the disease itself.
The most efficient method of saving your small garden is to remove the infected plant from your collection.
Dry and wet heat treatments have been found useful to treat the infected plants.
The best way to protect your plants from viral infections is to take preventive measures. Currently, there are no chemicals or formulae available in market which can cure the viral diseases of plant once contracted. Hence, as the saying goes “Prevention Is Better Than Cure” holds true in this case.
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